- In the Book of Judges in the Hebrew Bible, Abimelech[pronunciation?] (אֲבִימָלֶךְ ) was a son of the great judge Gideon (Judges 9:1); thus his name אֲבִימֶלֶךְ / אֲבִימָלֶךְ can best be interpreted "my father, the king". "Abimelech", a name claiming the inherited right to rule, was also a common name of the Philistine kings. He was, however, merely the son of Gideon's concubine, and to make good his claim to rule over Manasseh, he resorted to force. He put to death his 70 half-brothers, aided by his mother's relatives, "on one stone" at Ophrah. Jotham, the youngest brother, escaped, however. Abimelech ruled just three years in Shechem after the death of his father (Judges 8:33-9:6). According to Judges 9:6, he was made "king".
According to the Bible, he was an unprincipled, ambitious ruler, often engaged in war with his own subjects. When engaged in reducing the town of Thebez, which had revolted, he was struck on the head by a mill-stone, thrown by the hand of a woman from the wall above. Realizing that the wound was mortal, he ordered his armor-bearer to thrust him through with his sword, so that it might not be said he had perished by the hand of a woman (Judges 9:50-57).